All fallers must have qualified assistance. This is a regulatory requirement and it must be in place for every faller. There are no exceptions.
What is Qualified Assistance?
The supervisor, employer/contractor, licensee or land owner must make sure that every faller has access to a person or people capable of effectively helping, advising or assisting the faller.
Fallers and buckers must have an effective means to summon qualified assistance.
A plan must be in place where the qualified assistance person/people know what is expected of them and they must be able to respond as needed, when needed.
When Does a Faller Need Qualified Assistance?
Qualified assistance must be readily available to fallers in case of difficulty, emergency or injury as per OHS Regulation 26.28.
- A falling difficulty - no urgent action required. For example, a faller is unsure about how best to handle a hazard tree. He has the opportunity to create a no-work zone until qualified assistance is available.
- An emergency - urgent action is required. For example, a faller is pinned under a log. Qualified assistance could mean machine assist if appropriate, or someone who has the skills and PPE to immediately assist and buck him out.
- An injury - must have basic first aid coverage readily available to all fallers within a surface travel time (walking) of not more than 10 minutes. OHS Regulation, section 3.18(2).
Bottomline: The supervisor, employer/contractor, licensee or land owner must be able to prove that they have provided the necessary, qualified assistance to comply with the regulation.
Still not sure about qualified assistance and what it means to you and your workplace? Please contact a BCFSC Falling Safety Advisor or call WorkSafeBC at 1.888.621.7233.